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Thank God It’s Thursday: Welcome to the 4 Day Work Week
09.01.2009
01:30 pm
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By the time that TIME magazine gets around to reporting on a “new trend” you can be sure it’s probably last year’s news, which is why this article—about the insanely popular 4-day work week in Utah—caught my eye:

In an era when most of us seem to be working more hours than ever (provided we’re still lucky enough to have jobs), 17,000 people in Utah have embarked on an unusual experiment. A year ago, the Beehive State became the first in the U.S. to mandate a four-day workweek for most state employees, closing offices on Fridays in an effort to reduce energy costs. The move is different from a furlough in that salaries were not cut; nor was the total amount of time employees work. They pack in 40 hours by starting earlier and staying later four days a week. But on that fifth (glorious) day, they don’t have to commute, and their offices don’t need to be heated, cooled or lit.

After 12 months, Utah’s experiment has been deemed so successful that a new acronym could catch on: TGIT (thank God it’s Thursday). The state found that its compressed workweek resulted in a 13% reduction in energy use and estimated that employees saved as much as $6 million in gasoline costs. Altogether, the initiative will cut the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons a year. And perhaps not surprisingly, 82% of state workers say they want to keep the new schedule. “It’s beneficial for the environment and beneficial for workers,” says Lori Wadsworth, a professor at Brigham Young University who helped survey state employees. “People loved it.”

The Four-Day Workweek Is Winning Fans

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.01.2009
01:30 pm
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Japan’s Bloodless Coup
08.31.2009
10:32 am
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Dangerous Minds pal Charles Hugh Smith has posted an essential essay to read today at Of Two Minds if you want to understand the voter’s revolution that just occurred in Japan. The ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) is out, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is in and over 50 years of domestic and foreign policy is about to be turned on its head:

Transparency has no place in central planning. The major banks were crippled with massive bad debts, yet the planners moved glacially to force write-offs and renunciation of impaired debt. Even now, no one really knows how much uncollectable debt remains on the books in Japan, Inc.

One reason is cultural. Declaring a bank insolvent is a major loss of face for everyone involved. Thus the preferred solution was to keep “zombie banks” alive as a face-saving measure.

The tricks used were plentiful and clever. Say a commercial real estate loan went south and the borrower stopped paying. Hmm, that looks bad; why not loan the firm more money, as long as they agreed to use part of it to make some token payments which would allow the bank to keep the loan off the “in default” ledger?

Never mind the additional loans only made matters worse; face was saved and time was bought.

After 20 years of malaise, the citizenry’s patience finally ran out. Things are dire for the Japanese economy and nation: the birth rates have fallen dramatically, social security costs on the exploding elderly population are climbing, and an entire generation of younger workers has been relegated to dead-end part-time jobs at 7-11. Like other global manufacturers, to remain competitive Japan’s firms moved production to China and other parts of Asia; automation in Japanese factories eliminated many of the remaining domestic jobs.

Japan’s Bloodless Coup: Devolution of the Export/Central Planning Model

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.31.2009
10:32 am
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Wackpot Michelle Bachman Calls for Fasting and Prayer to Defeat Health Care for All US Citizens
08.27.2009
11:55 am
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imageShe’s baaaack… Minnesota congresswoman and escaped mental patient, Michelle Bachmann continues to bring the crazy. They should probably institute an IQ test for potential candidates for Congress to weed the complete crackpots out, but what can you do? This lady was duly elected by the people of her district, TWICE. I guess that dumb people need representation, too and I do hope that her fellow opponents of health care for all our citizens take her advice. From The Minnesota Independent:

 

 

 

Bachmann was joined by North Carolina

Uninsured US Citizen Posts Video About Health Care on Sarah Palin’s FaceBook Page
08.25.2009
11:33 am
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...and the predictable loony results.

Kenneth Thomas writes:

Hey Dangerous Minds - after frustrating discussions with family members about why health care reform is needed, I decided to make a 3-minute video describing how no reform equals a bad future for me and millions. Well, I posted the video to Sarah Palin’s FaceBook page, to try and show people the views of one, simple, hard-workin’ American and what I got was an anti-gay comment, skewed views on Christianity, and lots and lots of paranoid-driven misinformation. It’s a great example of how disinformation spreads like a virus that can’t be controlled after a while.

Nice work Kenneth!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.25.2009
11:33 am
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Michael Moorcock: “Starship Stormtroopers”
08.25.2009
01:26 am
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Great 1978 essay from the Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review where sainted SF writer Michael Moorcock takes a heavy swing at right-wing science fiction writers and fans. Great stuff in here.

An anarchist is not a wild child, but a mature, realistic adult imposing laws upon the self and modifying them according to an experience of life, an interpretation of the world. A ‘rebel’, certainly, he or she does not assume ‘rebellious charm’ in order to placate authority (which is what the rebel heroes of all these genre stories do). There always comes the depressing point where Robin Hood doffs a respectful cap to King Richard, having clobbered the rival king. This sort of implicit paternalism is seen in high relief in the currently popular Star Wars series which also presents a somewhat disturbing anti-rationalism in its quasi-religious ‘Force’ which unites the Jedi Knights (are we back to Wellsian ‘samurai’ again?) and upon whose power they can draw, like some holy brotherhood, some band of Knights Templar. Star Wars is a pure example of the genre (in that it is a compendium of other people’s ideas) in its implicit structure—quasi-children, fighting for a paternalistic authority, win through in the end and stand bashfully before the princess while medals are placed around their necks.

Star Wars carries the paternalistic messages of almost all generic adventure fiction (may the Force never arrive on your doorstep at three o’clock in the morning) and has all the right characters. It raises ‘instinct’ above reason (a fundamental to Nazi doctrine) and promotes a kind of sentimental romanticism attractive to the young and idealistic while protective of existing institutions. It is the essence of a genre that it continues to promote certain implicit ideas even if the author is unconscious of them. In this case the audience also seems frequently unconscious of them.

(Link here.)

Posted by Jason Louv
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08.25.2009
01:26 am
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Dorian Cope: The Executions of Sacco and Vanzetti
08.24.2009
05:11 am
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Anarchist blogger Dorian Cope says:

Eighty-two years ago today on 23rd August 1927, Italian-born anarchists ?

Posted by Jason Louv
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08.24.2009
05:11 am
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The Health Care Debate Explained on the Back of a Napkin
08.22.2009
12:26 pm
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Dan Roam is an author and graphic designer living in San Francisco. His book is called The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures and this is how Dan (with Dr. Tony Jones, MD) visualizes the health care debate in terms simple enough for Republicans, Fox News viewers and even your crazy tea baggin’ birther uncle in Kentucky to understand it. First, he rightly characterizes the debate as one over insurance reform—what it really is—and not health care reform. Obama administration TAKE NOTE!

Dan Roam on Slide Share
The Back of the Napkin

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.22.2009
12:26 pm
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New Michael Moore Trailer for Capitalism, A Love Story
08.21.2009
04:23 pm
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I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Capitalism a Love Story. No fan of Capitalism and a big Moore fan, this looks like a treat for moi.

Capitalism, A Love Story

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.21.2009
04:23 pm
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They Report, You Decide (or something like that…)
08.19.2009
03:25 pm
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It’s always instructive to compare how a particular news story is reported by different media outlets. Case in point, how CNN covered Barney Frank’s town hall meeting with some of his less intelligent constituents in Dartmouth, Massachusetts vs. the way Fox News handled the same story. Any commentary would be entirely superfluous, but it does go to show why flipping the channels can provide interesting insight into how opinion is manufactured. (And bravo to Frank for calling these folks out on their total know-nothing idiocy).

First CNN:


Then Fox News (featuring zany idiot Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.19.2009
03:25 pm
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Why Does the Media Pay Attention to the “Opinions” of Fucking Idiots?
08.19.2009
12:20 am
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There should be a SPECIAL Darwin Award for Pamela Pilger, the crazy lady who yelled “Heil Hitler” to an Israeli Jew in Las Vegas the other day at the health care town meeting, I’m sure she needs no further introduction, we’ve all seen her act like a complete fool in this clip.

But have you seen this one? Gawker posted this hilarious… well, at least unintentionally comic video of Pilger being interviewed about her “political views” before the meeting started. This lady is one SERIOUSLY stupid human being. She fits into the category of “so stupid she doesn’t know how stupid she is.” How do I know this? Because her husband has “two, no three jobs” and he doesn’t have health insurance… and she is still against universal coverage! Amazing but true. How much dumber could you be than Pamela Pilger?!?!?! She’s the new low IQ poster child!

But I ask you, how is it possible that the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh can convince these poor dumbasses to be against the very things that would actually benefit them the most—guaranteed health care in a cruel fuckin’ world—in the one life they’ll ever get?!?! It boggles the mind. Pamela Pilger in her staggering stupidity is a one-woman microcosm of the wider conservative KNOW-NOTHING mindset these people have. Facts? Who cares about FACTS? THIS is who is fighting against health care for all, a woman whose very own husband lacks coverage!

WHY ARE THE MEDIA PAYING ATTENTION TO THE OPINIONS OF FUCKING IDIOTS?

REPUBLICANS ARE ASSHOLES. PEOPLE WHO ARE AGAINST HEALTH CARE FOR *OTHER PEOPLE* ARE MORAL PARIAHS.

Meet Pamela Pilger, the Crazy Lady Who Yelled ‘Heil Hitler’ at a Jewish Supporter of Health Care Reform [Note that the Gawker posting includes ways to contact Pamela Pilger yourself. Thank you Cajun Boy for this public service, you’re our hero!]

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.19.2009
12:20 am
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